Bitcoin Is Too Hard To Use! UX In Crypto (video/podcast)
Have you ever pulled on a door with a handle, only to realise it says "push"? What's the handle for?
Have you ever had your washing machine lock its door on you, and then give you a really helpful message like "DOOR IS LOCKED"?
People have these experiences all the time. Often they get frustrated. Sometimes they think "Aw geez I'm such a dummie for not knowing how to work this thing." But generally, it's not your fault. It's the fault of the designers for not keeping you in mind when they made the thing.
A lot of newbies have the same experience with Bitcoin.
Welcome to Cryptonomics, principles of cryptocurrency and investing.
Welcome and thank you so much to all those people who are sharing these videos and podcasts, and thank you to all those people leaving 5 star reviews on iTunes. That's really helping me out a lot.
Scroll down to watch and listen to the episode.
A brief history of UX on the Internet
Around the time I started using the Internet, it was still common to use IP addresses - the address as numbers, instead of using words like google.com. There was no Web 2.0, or even Web 1.0. Search engines weren't fully formed. You typed the numbers to get to a university site, and got to look at a few documents and pictures - no animation, no video, not even links to click on. If I didn't know the numbers, I couldn't get to the site.
If the Internet had stayed as user friendly as it was then, do you think it would have ever become as popular as it is today? If you had to type an IP address into Gopher or a browser to get to a site, if you didn't have a search engine but you had to ask your friends for new sites to find them? The Internet would still be for nerds.
Nothing wrong with nerds, it's great to be a nerd. But the majority of people, the potential market for the Internet, and for cryptocurrency, go far beyond nerds. Regular people. Grandmas and soccer mums, grocery shoppers. Regular old humans.
Let's talk about the user experience of Bitcoin over time.
History of UX in Bitcoin
When I first started using Bitcoin, we downloaded the whole blockchain to use the wallet. It took a while, possibly a day or two to download it. Yes, you had to wait days before you had the full functionality of the wallet. I got the Litecoin wallet, used a torrent to download the blockchain to get it started. I verified the blockchain cryptographically, to make sure I wasn't getting a fake one.
In 2014, my buddy Aaron suggested this idea for a business, a café which had a full Bitcoin node so you could walk in with your laptop and download it over WiFi. That idea became obsolete pretty quickly.
Then came web wallets like Blockchain.info, and eventually light wallets like Electrum. Now we have mobile wallets, wallets as browser plugins that can hold hundreds of different cryptos. And in many countries you have a choice of several exchanges.
Now some cryptos have addresses that are actual names. You can go on Bitshares or Steemit and send money to your friend just by typing their handle. By the way, follow @cryptonomics1 on Steemit.
A few people get bent out of shape when I mention this, they say it's no big deal to use a 34 character address or use a QR code. Okay, it could be worse. But there's a reason I don't write 220.127.116.11 on my business cards. I write cryptonomics.space - because it's easily read, understood and remembered by humans.
Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies are easier to use than ever. If we expect crypto to be more than a niche thing, it has to be outstanding to use. It has to be better to use than what people are already using, or they won't switch. It needs things like transaction disputes, private payments, automatic payments, discounts for paying with crypto. Successful digital currencies might not have all these features, but they'll have to have some of the important things that people expect, in order to reach mass adoption.
What's in it for me?
It's tempting to think that UX is something simple, something that can just be added on later, that it can be an afterthought. Really, UX doesn't work like that. Today more than ever, the technology needs to welcome the user. If you build the tech first, without thinking of the user, and then try to build UX on top, it will be tough. The tech won't be able to do what the user needs, because it wasn't built for the user.
UX can't be thrown on top like a first coat of pastel paint. A system must be designed to be congruent with user experience. If it's not, and the user comes second to the tech, people will know, they will feel it, and as long as there are other options, they simply won't use the service.
People are naturally, constantly seeking value. People are constantly asking that magical question "What's in it for me?"
As entrepreneurs and system designers we constantly have to be asking "What's in it for them?" to think about why someone would use a system, how to make it easy to use a system. Make it easy, make it fun, make it engaging, and you just might find success.
Thanks for listening to Cryptonomics, thanks for sharing this video and podcast, thanks for giving a five star review on iTunes. Most importantly, stay grateful!
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Bitcoin's bubble vs Dash's killer app
You can listen to the episode on Anchor and other podcasting services here: Cryptonomics - Bitcoin is too hard to use - UX in Crypto. Or watch on YouTube below: